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Red Rocks Ticketing Changes Fight Bots, Increase Access For Fans With Disabilities

Courtesy of Red Rocks Amphitheatre
The only handicapped-accessible sections at Red Rocks Amphitheatre are the first and last rows.

Red Rocks Amphitheater is instituting new ticketing and seating procedures to improve access for fans with disabilities and to reduce ticket fraud.

Beginning with the 2018 concert season, seats in the first four rows -- including the handicapped-accessible section -- must be used by the ticket purchaser. Officials say those seats are the most likely to be purchased by ticket bots and then resold at higher prices on the secondary market.

Those rows will only be available to concert-goers via the ticketing agency AXS’s Flash Seats app system, which is used at other local venues, including Pepsi Center.

“With these new procedures we are excited to put tickets in the hands of fans who truly need these accessible seats, so they can experience the magic of Red Rocks,” said Red Rocks venue manager Tad Bowman.

In December, a local disability-rights coalition filed a lawsuit against Denver Arts and Venues, which operates Red Rocks, alleging that it had failed to provide “meaningful access” to the venue. Currently, the only sections that are handicapped-accessible are the first and last rows. 

According to Brian Kitts, Denver Arts and Venues director of marketing and business development, many of the changes announced will be included in an eventual settlement with the group.

“The framework is in place for an agreement, but it has not yet been confirmed by the courts,” Kitts said.

The changes were also made to address problems with ticket scalping, he said. After May 15, print-at-home tickets -- which are easily duplicated -- will no longer be allowed for any rows. The only means of ticket delivery will be digital, requiring a verified account tied to an ID – similar to the process of checking in at the airport.

“This also prevents those tickets in the first four rows from ending up on StubHub, Ticketmaster, Craigslist and other third-party vendors – unless that buyer is going to accompany you to the show, which is hard to do if you’re a bot from Croatia or a buyer in Indiana,” Kitts said.

Additional changes that will affect Red Rocks shows as of Feb. 1, 2018 include:

•             Ticket holders in Row 1 must confirm the need for accessible seating when making the purchase and will be required to show photo ID matching the original purchaser when being seated.

•             All members of the original purchaser’s ticketed party must arrive together at the venue gates for entry into the amphitheater, and again at the designated section. Those with tickets in the first row will receive wristbands allowing access to their seats.

•             Ticket holders who used Flash Seats will need to show a registered Flash Seats ID or Red Rocks Mobile App – which will available by April 1. Paper or print-at-home tickets will not be allowed.

Tickets go on sale this week for several 2018 Red Rocks season shows, including Niall Horan, Brandi Carlile, Barenaked Ladies, and X Ambassadors. The new ticketing process will be in effect for these shows but will not affect specialty programs such as Film on the Rocks.

Stacy was KUNC's arts and culture reporter from 2015 to 2021.
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